EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

A simple blitz system that can be used by all teams

Any defensive system needs to time to work on. It should also be simple and understood by the rest of the team. But you can still have a blitz system if you concentrate on the right principles.


INTRODUCE A SIMPLE BLITZ STRUCTURE FOR ANY TEAM

Key factors

  1. Line Speed
  2. Communication
  3. Alignment
  4. Collision technique

Key takeaways

  1. Use the blitz as an active defensive structure, taking the game to the attack.
  2. Use it when you have six or more defenders in position.
  3. The outside defenders call when to blitz.

The modern game has seen the introduction of many complex defensive systems that many professional teams use. These need to time and experience to be utilised fully.

Using age grade rugby to introduce the principles helps outline how to develop within any ambitious team. Underpinning this, it’s important to develop good defensive skills and knowledge by keeping it simple,

THE BLITZ BASICS

By running a defensive blitz you should have the following two points in mind:

  1. Pressure the attacking team into a error
  2. Regain possession of the ball

WHAT IS THE BLITZ DEFENCE?

The blitz defence is when the defending team aim to pressurise the attacking team into errors by getting into the attacking space with an aggressive line speed.

It’s an active defensive structure rather than the drift defence where you wait and react to an attacking shape.
This system will demand faster line speed and intent by the defensive line.

WHY USE THE BLITZ DEFENCE?

  • To pressurise the attacking team into errors. For example taking the wrong decision or a simple handling error.
  • To slow down the momentum of the attack.
  • Provide the attackers with fewer opportunities.

WHEN TO USE IT?

With six or more players in a defensive structure regardless of attacking numbers.

THE SET UP

  • The “guard” and “bodyguard” will hold the defensive line and secure their spacing at an arm span length apart. They make sure the opposition 9 does not break the defensive line.
  • If the scrum half runs across them they are not to chase as this will leave holes on the inside of the defensive structure.
  • Once ball is in flight to the first receiver the guard and bodyguard will lead the defensive line up by staying in their defensive channels and cover any inside passes from first receiver.
  • Defenders stand on the outside shoulders of their opposite attackers and run at a inward angle.
  • Identify a team call that will communicate the blitz defence.
  • Outside defender in defensive structure to communicate.

THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD BLITZ DEFENCE

Line speed

  • The speed of the line will determine the effectiveness of the blitz.
  • Aim to get over the gain line into the attacking space.

Communication

  • End defender in structure to communicate which system to play (some teams nominate a defensive captain who will call).
  • Decide on a trigger name for both systems (blitz/drift).
  • Trigger call is communicated along the defensive line.

Alignment

  • Defenders stand on outside shoulder of opposite attackers.
  • Defending line must hold alignment throughout execution.

Collision

  • The collision (tackle) plays an important part in the defensive blitz as a miss tackle can lead to the attacking team breaking the defensive line.
  • A good tackle technique is required. Start with a man-on-man tackle and develop into a double hit by one going low and second attacking the ball (this to stop the offload).
  • Encourage a tackle policy with an outcome. For example tackler plus two defenders only to commit to breakdown with the aim of pressurise the attacking team structure by slowing their ball down or to gain a turnover.
  • Introduce a no jackle policy. The defenders aim to fight for space by staying on their feet this will help minimise a penalty threat.

DRILL ONE

AIM

Develop communication and the basic blitz system.

HOW

  1. Split into groups of six.
  2. Group communicate SET SET UP, on the UP group work up to first line and realign across to second gate.
  3. Once all defenders aligned end defender communicates the blitz trigger call.
  4. Group communicate SET SET Up and work through the 10m set with an aggressive speed line with the alignment maintained.

COACHING POINTS

  • Speed of line
  • Communication of blitz trigger call
  • Maintain alignment
  • Hands chest high ready for collision

DRILL TWO

AIM

Develop communication and the basic blitz system with the introduction of attacking players.

HOW

  1. Development from drill 1 with the introduction of six attackers holding ruck pads or wearing contact suits opposite second gate.
  2. Group communicate SET SET UP, on the UP group work up to first line and realign across to second gate to outside shoulder of attacking player.
  3. Once all defenders aligned end defender communicates the blitz trigger call.
  4. Group communicate SET SET Up and work through the 10 meters set with an aggressive speed line with the alignment maintained.
  5. Aim to meet attacking shields in the attacking space (red zone of diagram).

COACHING POINTS

As Drill 1 plus:

  • Speed of line
  • Communication of blitz trigger call
  • Maintain alignment
  • Hands chest high ready for collision
  • Body profiles at collision

DRILL THREE

AIM

Develop the blitz defence against a live attacking line under game intensity.

HOW

  1. Attacking line (minimum seven) align off a scrum half ready to attack at second gate of drill.
  2. Group communicate SET SET UP, on the UP group work up to first line and realign across to second gate to outside shoulders of opposite attacking player.
  3. Once all defenders aligned end defender communicates the blitz trigger call.
  4. Group communicate with a SET SET call. End man communicates the blitz trigger call.
  5. Once 9 passes ball to first receiver (in flight) defensive line work up into attacking space.
  6. Drill can be developed with runners inside the first receiver and introducing a tackle policy, for example tackler plus two defenders to commit to collision.

COACHING POINTS

  • Speed of line
  • Communication of blitz trigger call
  • Maintain alignment
  • Hands chest high ready for collision
  • Tackle technique
  • Details of tackle policy

TWO POSITIVES OF BLITZ DEFENCE

  1. Defenders can cross the gain line quickly and win attacking space.
  2. By winning the attacking space attacking skills are under pressure therefore leading to errors and turnovers.

TWO NEGATIVES OF BLITZ DEFENCE

  1. As the defenders are blitzing with an aggressive line speed it leaves space behind the line. If the defensive line is broken there is no recovery time. All tackles must be made
  2. The blitz will only work if all defenders come up together in the line. If one player is left behind it will create space for the attacking team to exploit.

KEY FACTORS TO DEVELOP

  1. Line up on outside attacker’s shoulder
  2. Quick line speed
  3. Align and remain as one defensive line
  4. Communication
  5. Aggressive collusion techniques
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